Helping Young Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: Guest Post by Melissa Stewart

You may wonder why fifty of today’s leading children’s nonfiction authors have come together to write a book for educators. After all, our target audience is usually young readers.

It’s because we want to set the record straight. We want to shine a light on a critical part of the nonfiction writing process that often goes unseen and unappreciated.

Again and again, we encounter teachers and students who seem to think that writing nonfiction is simple and straightforward; just do some research and then cobble together a bunch of facts. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing features essays by fifty authors, each with their own story, but all with the same message: To craft high-quality prose, nonfiction writers have to dig deep.

We have to be personally invested.

We have to get in touch with our passions and our vulnerabilities and use them to fuel our work.

The topics we choose, the approaches we take, and the concepts and themes we explore are closely linked to who we are as people—our personalities, our beliefs, and our experiences in the world. As far as we’re concerned, putting the information we collect through our own personal filters and making our own meaning is the secret to creating engaging nonfiction.

We created Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep because we want to revolutionize the way nonfiction writing is taught across the country and around the world. We firmly believe that once K-12 writing teachers realize what they’re currently leaving out of their instruction, they will be eager to make changes.

The tips, tools, strategies, and activities included in Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep can provide guidance as educators search for ways to help students become more personally invested in their nonfiction writing. Our fondest hope is that, from an early age, children will understand that to create nonfiction that delights as well as informs, writers need to have skin in the game.

All the proceeds from Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep will be divided among the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).